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Drug-resistant gonorrhoea a worry for NZ

Thu 6 May 2010 In: New Zealand Daily News View at Wayback View at NDHA

The emergence of drug-resistant gonorrhoea and a spike in detection of the sexually transmitted disease in New South Wales has put sexual health experts here in New Zealand on alert. The World Health Organisation recently issued a statement about the development of drug resistant gonorrhoea. Improper use of antibiotics has led to cheaper, first-line antibiotics losing their effectiveness. WHO says that if this continues, it will only be a matter of time before gonorrhoea develops resistance to third-generation drugs. Australia, Hong Kong and Japan have already reported early indications of the presence of drug-resistant gonorrhoea. This, combined with a sudden increase in gonorrhoea diagnoses across the Tasman, in Newcastle, where the health authorities are saying gay and bi men are particularly at risk, has the NZ AIDS Foundation concerned. “Gonorrhoea is very unpleasant. This is another reason for gay and bisexual men from New Zealand to use condoms and lube for sexual encounters wherever they are,” says Mathew Creamer, NZAF Programme Manager Social Marketing. If left untreated, gonorrhoea can result in infertility, pelvic inflammatory disease, urethral strictures and scrotal swelling. Gonorrhoea also increases the likelihood of acquiring and transmitting HIV infection. Symptoms usually occur within two to ten days after infection, but can take months to appear. The first noticeable symptom in men is a slight discomfort on passing urine, which can later become very painful ‘like passing razor blades’ if it is not treated. A discharge of creamy pus from the tip of the penis follows. Sometimes there is no discharge, just pain and sometimes there are no symptoms at all. Women are less likely to experience symptoms from gonorrhoea so the infection can go undetected for longer. Sometimes gonorrhoea causes an unusual discharge from the vagina, pain while urinating, abdominal pain and possibly fever.    

Credit: Daily News staff

First published: Thursday, 6th May 2010 - 10:08pm

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